The Sennheiser GSP 302 doesn’t quite prove that an audiophile headset can best true high-end gaming headphones.
Sennheiser are a well-known brand that speaks a big game. Their statement of having a “vision of shaping the audio world of tomorrow” comes with a lot of promise. Saying your products are “famous throughout the world” takes talking game to a whole new level.
However, Sennheiser isn’t near the first brands that come to mind when I think of high-quality gaming headphones. This leads me to question if these claims are true for their gaming headsets as well.
With no surround sound and minimal interface features, I’m curious to see how the Sennheiser GSP 302 holds up to their competitors. Does Sennheiser really achieve a “perfect sound”? Can they compete with the top industry gaming headphones?
These are the questions that will be put to the test.
Sennheiser is a German company that was established in 1945 by Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser. What began as an independent, family-run business has now grown into a million-dollar corporation with offices in over 50 countries.
Sennheiser is far more than just a headphone company. They also manufacture wireless microphones, monitoring systems, conference technology, audiology, streaming technology, and even 3D audio technologies. Anything to do with audio, Sennheiser is most likely on top of it.
Sennheiser is also credited with many audio milestones, such as the first directional microphone in the 1950s. In addition, in the 1970s and 1980s, they are credited with creating infrared and multichannel cordless transmission technology.
With such an impressive legacy, it will be interesting to see how the Sennheiser GSP 302 holds up to the current standards set by other quality gaming headsets.
- Form: Closed-back, wired
- Impedance: 19 Ohms
- Sensitivity: -41 dBV/PA
- Frequency Response: 15-26,000 Hz
- Connector: 2 x 3.5 mm / 1 x 3.5 mm (PCV 05 Combo Audio Adapter)
- Removable Cable: No
- Compatibility: PC, Mac, PS4/PS5, Xbox 360/Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Mobile
Packaging and Accessories
Sennheiser uses the low-cost approach of using a plastic mold to package the GSP 302, although, they do it better than most. The plastic mold is actually sturdy and not just a thin sheet. I am disappointed to not see any extra padding, such as a plastic or styrofoam wrap, but, overall, I’m still left with a positive impression.
Neatly inside the plastic mold sit the GSP 302, which I removed with ease. Under the headphones is a plastic bag with the PCV O5 combo audio adaptor and a safety guide. I wish there is more to say, but that is the extent of the unboxing experience. I’m not disappointed with the packing, but I anticipated more from such a well-known brand.
The Sennheiser GSP 302’s packaging is mediocre and falls in the middle of the pack compared to the competition.
In the box
- Sennheiser GSP 302 headset
- PCV O5 Combo Audio Adaptor
- Safety Guide
The Sennheiser GSP 302 are very streamlined. The ear cups are oval in shape, which stays in line with the overall design. I genuinely prefer this to other boxy designs and think it’s a lot more appealing.
What is not quite as appealing is the pure black color coat and lack of highlights. There is lots of room to give the headphones some much-needed pop with a touch of color.
A key point to mention is that the headband is built with an opening running through the middle of the band. I imagine this is to prevent stress on the wearer’s head and it should play a factor in the comfort section.
The only functionality features on the GSP 302 are the mic, which can be flipped to mute, and a volume dial on the outer shell of the right ear cup.
I think the dial is a bit excessive in size and unconventional in its placement, as I have to use my right hand for adjustments. This is your primary hand for firing weapons in first-person shooters, regardless of whether on PC or Console, and I just know it will cost me one day.
Because of the sleek design that first caught my attention, I anticipated a good level of comfort from the GSP 302. Just as I hoped, the comfort is a home run in all aspects. A couple of key factors contribute to the headset’s comfort level being a superior experience for me.
To begin with, the combination of leatherette on the ear cups and cloth on the headband is a new experience for me, and now a new personal favorite.
Leatherette provides the best comfort around the ear, especially when it comes to avoiding the irritation that comes from cloth. However, I find leatherette on the headband to, more often than not, feel stiff and staticky with my hair. On the GSP 302, this is not an issue because the headband padding is cloth. As a result, the ear cups and headband padding provide a separate comfort experience that delivers on both ends.
Another huge area to give credit to is the opening in the headband. This makes the weight evenly distributed across both arches, and not falling right on the center of my head. This, combined with the cloth cushioning, gave no noticeable discomfort during long gaming sessions.
Despite the fact that the headphones are made mostly of plastic, they don’t feel cheap. I won’t go as far as to say they are top-notch quality, but they are definitely up to par.
The ear cups are connected to the headband through a joint on the shell’s outer cup. At first, I thought it would snap off with a little pressure, but that’s not the case. Although it doesn’t appear to be very strong, it is. It never showed a sign of weakening, even when I applied more than normal resistance.
The headband is the perfect balance of toughness and flexibility. It stretches out without stress falling on other areas, and from my strength test, I can assure you that it will need an abnormal amount of force to break it. I’m not interested in learning how much that is, but it proved to be good quality.
For such a prestigious company, I’m really let down by the mic performance.
The first issue is the background static that comes through. This came as a surprise since the mic is advertised as noise-canceling. Well, that’s definitely not the case here.
You can hear for yourself in the mic recordings just how poorly the GSP 302 mic did with blocking out background noise.
I am confused because in the quiet environment test there is zero background noise, but somehow the mic still managed to pick up or create some. This isn’t just me hearing it either, many of my teammates commented on it almost immediately after I joined the call.
They also mentioned that my mic causes the other voices in the party to echo. At first, I didn’t want to admit it was me, since I couldn’t hear it. The only solution to this was to turn the volume dial almost down to minimum, but that left me with very quiet audio overall.
The GSP 302 mic disappoints me in all areas. It doesn’t deliver a clear sound even in a quiet environment, and it creates an echo from the headphones. It is, without a doubt, amongst the worst gaming headset microphones I’ve ever used, as it is barely functional.
As far as connectivity goes, there isn’t too much to tell. The headphones are wired with a 3.5mm audio cable that splits into 2 x 3.5mm plugs, one for audio and the other for the mic. To use the headphones on a Mac or console, I simply connected the PCV 05 audio adapter which combines the microphone and audio plugs to a single 3.5mm TRRS plug.
I get a pretty even audio experience overall from the GSP 302 and the noise-canceling ear pads are a key feature that enhance my audio experience. However, the headphones are definitely lacking in some important aspects. Certain audio cues within the mids and highs don’t stand out, and on top of that, the surround sound isn’t clear in direction or location.
The GSP 302 provides an even level of sound all around, but for gaming that isn’t always a good thing. I tested out the GSP 302 on Apex Legends on my PC, and my overall impression is that they are definitely lacking in clarity.
The mids and highs aren’t always clear, and seem to blend in with other sounds, sometimes leaving me confused about what I am hearing. Gunshots aren’t always clear enough for me to tell what kind of weapon is being fired, and I often confused miscellaneous sounds with enemy footsteps.
If I listen carefully, I can pick out the audio cues, but they definitely aren’t as distinct as on other gaming headphones. I constantly found myself having to double-check with my eyes because I didn’t trust what I’m hearing.
The same issue persisted when I tested out the GSP 302s with some Call of Duty: Warzone matches. The immersion level is definitely there as I felt isolated in the sound, but the audio just isn’t as clear as I want it to be.
Gunshots are often drowned out by the most recent sounds and little cues such as bullets dropping or reloading a mag aren’t distinct. The surround sound is good when it isn’t competing with other audio, but as soon as another sound comes into play, it gets lost in the bunch. There isn’t too much emphasis on lows either so I feel like the headphones just have a poor time juggling audio.
If you’re not playing a first-person shooter, the GSP 302s should hold up fine. They effectively exclude outside noise and provide a consistent level of sound. However, they do not offer precise audio and, in particular, struggle to make little audio noises in the mids and highs stand out when competing sounds are present.
I compared the Sennheiser GSP 302 to the ASTRO A10 as they both fall roughly around the same price, with the Astros being slightly cheaper.
Except for comfort and build quality, there isn’t much of a battle between the GSP 302 and the A10.
Both headsets make a strong case for comfort, and they are amongst the best I’ve used. The GSP 302 have the advantage in terms of build quality, but the A10 outperform them in more critical aspects.
Sound and microphone quality, which are likely the two most essential factors after comfort, are dominated by the A10’s clear mic and ability to pinpoint sound, It’s just not close. The A10 outperform the GSP 302 and they are also less expensive. In my opinion, the Astro A10 are the superior option.
Where to Buy
The Sennheiser GSP 302 are a letdown. I was really expecting solid performance from such a recognizable company, but they just don’t compare to other gaming headsets. The only areas the GSP 302 succeed in are comfort and build quality.
They offer average sound quality, but not one I would recommend to battle royale or FPS players. At the end of the day, you can find better for cheaper. The mic is barely usable with its inability to block background noise and the echo it causes in party chats.
To answer our questions from the start, the GSP 302 do not offer perfect sound, nor do they compete with top of the line gaming headphones. I think you are better off getting a headset from a company that specializes in gaming headphones. I’m not discounting that Sennheiser offers amazing sound in the audiophile market, but the GSP 302 aren’t a compelling headset for gaming.